When anxiety strikes, use it to improve your leadership

Make 2024 unique: Be skeptical and swear a little more | practice (split each time) | When anxiety strikes, use it to improve your leadership
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January 2, 2024
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Leading the Way
Make 2024 unique: Be skeptical and swear a little more
(Alexandr Kolesnikov/Getty Images)
In the new year, be skeptical but not cynical, swear more but also apologize more often, practice "ethical hedonism" to enjoy more of life and see failures as lessons that prepare you for the future, writes Lucas Keller, the founder and president of Milk & Honey Music + Sports + Ventures. "Accept that there are different metrics to measure your success, and some of your contributions will be fully realized later," advises Keller, who offers 50 unique ideas for 2024.
Full Story: C-Suite Quarterly (Los Angeles) (12/2023) 
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Put it into practice: Improve your skills as a conversationalist who is interested in others, doesn't constantly talk politics and stops complaining about things that don't matter, Keller writes. "The single most exhausting meetings I had last year were with people who talked the whole time and never asked me anything."
Smarter Communication
When anxiety strikes, use it to improve your leadership
(BeritK/Getty Images)
Anxiety is a given in leadership, but when it leads you to micromanage or burn out, it can affect your team as well, says consultant and author Morra Aarons-Mele, who recommends leaders be vulnerable, help their team navigate company culture and systems and involve human resources when necessary. "I think it really comes down to setting boundaries, setting clear goals, defining what success is, so people really know what success is and aren't anxiously overworking to try to get there, and reigning things in a little bit," Aarons-Mele says.
Full Story: Harvard Business Review (tiered subscription model) (12/27) 
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Put it into practice: Managers can set the example for good mental health, Aarons-Mele says, but they shouldn't be expected to be their team's therapist. "It's okay for you as the manager to call your HR partner. They're meant to come step in and facilitate."
Appeal to shared values, purpose and integrity to improve communication with your team and use "what if" questions to spur innovative thinking, then give them the power to enact their solutions, writes Martin Zwilling, founder and CEO of Startup Professionals quoting advice from "Brave Together" authors Chris Deaver and Ian Clawson, co-founders of BraveCore. "Everyone expects more of leaders today -- not just talking about principles, but actually living them," Zwilling concludes.
Full Story: Inc. (tiered subscription model) (12/29) 
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Put it into practice: Avoid blaming yourself or others when failure happens and let them "become the building blocks of success," Zwilling writes. "Make turning pain into power a mindset that looks at all circumstances in creative new ways."
Smarter Strategy
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SmartPulse
How are intellectual property and trademark rights viewed in your organization?
They're sacred and should never be violated
 70.74%
One should be careful not to violate them but ... sometimes it happens
 22.57%
It's not a big deal if you're not overly obvious about violating them
 4.87%
Who cares? It's imaginary stuff anyway
 1.82%
Respecting IP and trademarks. Just because they're "invisible" doesn't mean they can't be stolen. For the 7% of you who say it's not a big deal to violate IP or trademarks or that one doesn't need to care, think again. There are stiff penalties for violating IP and trademarks including fines, lawsuits, sanctions and other unpleasant consequences of not respecting the rights someone has to something they created. In the moment it might not seem like a big deal to use that picture, song, video or proprietary framework but when the trademark holder finds out, you could find yourself in a heap of trouble.

Also consider the fact that you're stealing -- you're using the work of another person without appropriately compensating them for their creation. Do the right thing -- respect IP and trademarks. Pay for licensed versions of content or don't use it if it's not allowed to be used for your purposes. You'd want the same respect for your work if you were the creator.

Save yourself the headaches and respect the IP of others.

-- Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm's e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."
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How long does your organization's strategic planning process take to complete?
VoteLess than a month
Vote1-3 months
Vote3-6 months
Vote6-9 months
VoteMore than 9 months
In Their Own Words
Before taking the job as CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, Erik Moses was the first Black NASCAR track president, successfully reopening the Nashville Superspeedway and earning the respect of both drivers and fans, and says he didn't set out to be a trailblazer but won't "shy away from holding up that mantle." "Representation matters, and I'm going to do my part to make certain that people know things like this are possible," Moses said.
Full Story: Andscape (12/29) 
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Daily Diversion
Why the odds are good that your car is white
(Oli Scarff)
If you drive a blue or red car, you were in the minority in popular vehicle colors last year, with white leading the way at 26% and black, gray and silver filling the top four. Neutral colors dominate since they tend to hide dings and need less maintenance, but the popularity could also stem from the fact that dealers keep more neutral colors on hand, and those who want a flashier ride can't usually drive off the lot the day of purchase.
Full Story: My Modern Met (12/30) 
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
In a 2002 Journal of Clinical Psychology study on resolutions, what percentage of people who commit to a resolution succeed in keeping it?
Vote15%
Vote46%
Vote75%
Vote89%
About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
Chellew
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

One of the challenges of putting together a daily newsletter -- especially on leadership -- is finding articles that don't rehash the same advice we've all heard many times. The start of a new year, especially, brings out the same old tropes about how to improve our personal and professional lives.

That's why Lucas Keller's article caught my eye. Keller's advice is both practical and slightly off-center from the usual New Year's advice. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • "Toxic negativity is bad, but toxic positivity will kill you, too. Cut the 7 days a week sunshine for 2024. Be true to yourself; a failure is a failure -- recognize and accept it." (Finding the middle road can be difficult, but it's worth it!)
  • "However many dogs you have, get another one. If you don't have one, get one. You may think your life doesn't have space for it, but you'll be 25% happier." (Sadly, my spouse disagrees.)
  • "If you love Springsteen, re-listen to 'Born to Run,' if you hate Springsteen, re-listen to 'Born to Run.'" (I love Springsteen!)

What offbeat but valuable advice do you have to share going into the new year? Tell me!

If this newsletter helps you, please tell your colleagues, friends or anyone who can benefit. Forward them this email, or send this link.

What topics do you see in your daily work that I should know about? Do you have praise? Criticism? Drop me a note. And remember to send me photos of your pets, your office and where you spend your time off.
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Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.
Germany Kent,
journalist, writer
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